I am aware that several cricket clubs have struggled to get some of their early fixtures played, mainly due to the appalling cold wet weather we faced during April - coupled with the fact we also had a very dry February and a cold March.
These poor weather fronts certainly put paid to any hope of a decent pre-season rolling campaign for many clubs up and down the country. Also experiencing plenty of rain in April meant that many groundsmen could not fully prepare their wickets in time for the start of their playing season.
However, let’s hope we get some more favourable weather in May, when soil and air temperatures will surely rise well into double figures and help the recovery, drying out some of these cricket grounds enabling the clubs to get back on track with their matches.
As for me, I have been busy renovationing lawns with my work colleague John Breeze. We have been trialling an Elliet Scarifier and Elliet Seeder kindly provided by Chris Gibson of GGM, with the intention to write a forthcoming article about their performance.
We have also used it on Bayston Hill Bowling Green, scarifying in two directions. With the use of rotary mowers and STIHL blowers we were soon able to clean up the surfaces and remove the debris fetched out by the scarifier.
With warmer temperatures, May is a good time to start your fertiliser programme. Choosing the right fertiliser product and application method is essential for a good outcome.
Depending what soil you have, this will affect the performance of your grass plant. That is why it is essential you carry out a soil test and find out the current nutrient status of your soil before you apply any fertilisers. Fertilisers provide the plant with the essential elements for growth and each element of the fertilisers we apply throughout the year can and will affect the use and availability of other elements that may be available or applied.
Understanding your plants needs are essential to advocating a relevant feeding programme.
Today we have some sound advice provided by my friend and colleague Phil Sharples, a renowned turf professional, on how you can detect nutrient deficiency symptoms in your plants.
Read Phil’s article here.
For me, having a good healthy loam-based soil, rather than a straight sand or 70/30 rootzone, is more forgiving and better suited for holding onto the essential elements.
However, a lot of modern-day sports pitches now have either pure sand rootzones or a specific percentage of sand and soil/ compost mix ( 70/30, 80/20, 60/40) depending on construction. These rootzones are often prone to leaching and constantly need feeding.
Once you have sorted you required NPK ratios, it’s then about deciding on what type of product you need to apply. These can come in both granular or liquid formulations.
You also must bear in mind the outcome you require. The needs of a fine turf playing surface will be different to a rye grass sports turf (rugby / football) natural grass playing surface. Some grass species can be hungrier than others.
As with any fertiliser product there will be a need for having an appropriate level of moisture in the soil profile to help activate the applied fertiliser elements, therefore there may be a need to apply during rain if you do not have an irrigation / watering system.
The cost of fertilisers has shot up substantially since the pandemic and Brexit, so it pays to shop around and be more selective and more importantly ensure you are only putting down what your grass plant needs.
Understanding your soil and maintaining the appropriate nutrient status of your soil is critical for maintaining plant health.